We hope you love our recommendations! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.
We all know that food is a great way to grab kids' attention, and there are many developmental benefits to introducing a kids' toy food set into your child's play.
Toy foods offer a long-lasting, mess-free foundation for exploring role-playing and lifestyle skills. Whether you like wooden toy food, which is often more eco-friendly, or prefer long-lasting, BPA-free plastic play food sets, most toy food has solid, realistic shapes, encouraging your child to mimic adult life and learn useful patterns for the future.
A toy food set can bring out your child's imaginative side. Role-playing as chefs, market sellers and customers boosts kids' social skills, and makes real-life public interactions more enjoyable, while playing at shopping builds up numeracy, memory and literacy skills. Ordering food will encourage kids to practise their P's and Q's. Maths and classification are covered by sharing, shopping, and identifying food groups, and the act of 'cooking' with toy foods bolsters hand-eye coordination, construction technique and fine motor skills.
Play food sets can also help normalise new food groups for your child, or even promote foods that might be difficult to keep in their diet. You might be able to bring in new foods by suggesting them for your child's favourite play food recipe, or show your child where they're lacking certain nutrients by learning about food groups.
While many food toys are safe for children over 3, it's worth keeping an eye on younger children in case they forget the difference between play food and real food. Check the toys now and then for bite marks, or possibly faded or worn out paintwork. If it looks like your child could be licking or gnawing the toys, you might need to put them away until your child is a little older and will be able to resist temptation!
With so many benefits to food toys, we've been spoiled for choice to pick our top ten. Read on for our final selection of the ten best toy foods available.
For other educational toys, see our list of the best microscopes for kids.
Kidadl's Top Pick
1. Hape Silly Spaghetti
Mealtimes just got sillier! Your child can bend this Silly Spaghetti into all sorts of hilarious faces, so this multi-purpose set can be a delicious dinner or a new best friend. Silly Spaghetti is also a recipient of a Play on Words PAL Award, meaning it's been recognised as being a great toy for early years language development. We think this is one of the best play food sets for your table.
- Price: £22.49
- Features clip on eyes, ketchup hands and a variety of other toppings
- Suitable for 3+
Best For Quality
2. Jaques of London Let's Pretend Vegetable Board
Jaques of London have been providing high quality toys for over two hundred years, and this Vegetable Board is no exception. The chopping board provided has specific indentations to return the vegetables to, so your child gets the extra pleasure of a shape puzzle game. Add in Jaques' gorgeous presentation and you've got the perfect play kitchen present.
- Price: £10.49
- Includes nine magnetic vegetables, wooden toy knife and chopping board
- Suitable for 2+
Best For Immersive Play
3. Jogo Jogo Wooden Pizza Toy
Your child can dish up an entire night out as they take your menu order, build, bake and serve this delightful wooden pizza set, and even collect the bill. What's more, the set comes with a chef's hat and moustaches so your child feels like a professional pizzaiolo or pizzaiola. The only downside is that the money is in dollars, but that's a small hitch on an otherwise fantastic toy.
- Price: £22.98
- Features toppings, toy pizza cutter, menu cards, six moustaches and a chef's hat
- Includes a variety of dollar bills, coins and cash register
- Suitable for 3+
Best For Entrepreneurs
4. LeapFrog Scoop and Learn Ice Cream Cart
This award-winning ice cream cart ticks many skill learning boxes, and it's absolutely adorable too. Your child uses the 'magic scoop' to build layered cones (four scoops for us, please), and they can take orders either from playmates or by using the 'hungry character' cards, which challenge children to remember and deliver correct orders, colours and flavours. A helpful tip to know is that LeapFrog are reducing packaging by not double-boxing their toys - so keep an eye on the post if this is meant for a surprise!
- Price: £39.99
- Includes over 20 playing pieces (cones, ice cream, toppings, till, service bell) and movable cart with storage compartments
- Inbuilt music with encouraging guidance voices
- AA batteries required (included)
- Suitable for 2-6 years
Best For Protein
5. Hape Egg Carton
How does your child like their eggs in the morning? Crack open this egg box to find six eggs, three hard-boiled and three uncooked or fried. We love the way the egg pours out of the shell, mess-free! This toy is great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and can introduce different food groups and more complicated recipes into your child's kitchen.
- Price: £15.72
- Includes three hard-boiled eggs with Velcro, and three eggshells with felt fried eggs inside
- Presented in traditional egg box
- Suitable for 3+
Best For Younger Children
6. Farmer's Market Food Sorting Kit
This bright collection of fruits and vegetables is a great way to practise colour recognition and sorting skills. It includes five different colour-assigned baskets, each with five realistic, colour-coded fruits and vegetables.
- Price: £41
- Includes 25 fruits and vegetables and five buckets
- Non-toxic, BPA free plastic
- Easy to clean
- Suitable for 18 months+
Best For Value
7. Jaques of London Let's Pretend Fruit Set
Jaques' selection of high quality food toys are so loved that we couldn't resist including their Fruit Set too. You'll find the best price for this toy on Jaques' own website, so we recommend shopping directly with the maker!
- Price: £12.99
- Includes a handy fruit crate for storage, a smooth wooden chopping knife, and six whole fruits with Velcro
- Suitable for 1-4 years
Best For Coordination Skills
8. Early Learning Centre Wooden Pancake Set
Have Pancake Day all year round with this lovely Pancake Set. Your child can have fun learning coordination skills as they flip pancakes from the pan! The butter dish and knife set are great for a little extra extravagance, and handy to add in to other food sets too.
- Price: £14.40
- Extra toppings included are sugar and lemon, strawberry and maple syrup
- Includes pan, butter dish, toy knife, pancakes and toppings
- Suitable for 3+
Best For Simplicity
9. Hape Pop-Up Toaster
If pancakes seem a little indulgent, brighten up breakfast with this great little toaster set instead. The toaster's lever pushes the bread out as it's pressed down, making this an enjoyable but safe interactive toy. All you'll need to do is wait to be served your breakfast in bed.
- Price: £19.01
- Includes toaster, bread, butter dish, spreading knife, and honey pot
- Suitable for 3+
Best For Advanced Cooking
10. Melissa and Doug Rotisserie and Grill Barbecue Set
Last but certainly not least, this fabulous Rotisserie will fire up your child's imagination. A clever slide mechanism turns the grill 'red hot' when the temperature dials are turned, and the set comes with a variety of meats, seafood and vegetables to slot onto the rotating spit. Many of the food items can also be carved into Velcro-joined sections for creative kebabs.
- Price: £35.12
- Features 24 pieces, including grill with rotisserie, food items, cooking utensils and ordering cards
- Suitable for 3+
Kidadl Best Buys selects the top parent-recommended products across the web for families of all ages. If you liked our best food toy suggestions, why not check out our best STEM toys for children and best garden toys articles?
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
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